Tag Archives: jailed

Today in History – 30 April 1492


Christopher Columbus: Receives His Commission of Exploration from Castile (Spain)

Christopher Columbus was born between the 22nd August and the 31st October 1451, in Genoa (now in Italy). Contrary to common belief Columbus did not discover America, but he did greatly increase European awareness of the New World.

The maritime career of Christopher Columbus began when he was 10 years old. In the years that followed he undertook a number of journeys on the open sea in various roles on various ships. In 1485 he began looking for an opportunity to explore and discover a western route to Asia. He presented his ideas to the king of Portugal and was ultimately frustrated after several attempts. He also tried England, Genoa, Venice and then Spain (Castile) in 1486. He was frustrated in all these attempts (England eventually agreed, but by that time Columbus was already in league with Castile), but the king and queen of Castile (Ferdinand II and Isabella I) retained his services and after many attempts he finally gained the support of Ferdinand II and Isabella I on this day in 1492.

In all, Columbus would make four voyages between Castile and America. His life would end in great disappointment, having been jailed and having the terms of his contract with Castile overturned due to various claims and convictions of abuse of power and mismanagement of the domains over which he governed in the New World. Columbus died on the 20th May 1506 in Valladolid, Crown of Castile (now in Spain).

 

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Today in History – 24 April 1731


England: Daniel Defoe Died

On this day in 1731, English author Daniel Defoe died. He is best known for his novel ‘Robinson Crusoe.’ Defoe is recognized as one of the earliest authors of English novels and wrote over 500 books, pamphlets and journals. He was also recognized as something of a financial journalist.

Daniel Defoe was born some time between 1659 and 1661 – the exact date of his birth being unknown. He was born Daniel Foe (the ‘De’ being added later).

In his youth his family survived the Great Fire of London (1666), which left only his family’s home, and two others standing, in their part of London. A year later he survived a Dutch fleet that sailed up the Thames and attacked Chatham.

Defoe was a Christian and a Dissenter. At one time he was jailed for his views and in an earlier time was also a bankrupt. It is thought that he may have died while in hiding from those seeking him out because of unpaid debts. Defoe died  on the 24th April 1731 and is buried in Bunhill Fields, London.

Among Defoe’s many works are ‘Robinson Crusoe’ and ‘Moll Flanders.’

A biography of Daniel Defoe by William Minto can be found at the Internet Archive:
http://www.archive.org/details/daniel00defoemintrich

The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe:
http://www.archive.org/details/lifeadventuresof00defouoft

Moll Flanders, by Daniel Defoe:
http://www.archive.org/details/fortunesandmisfo00defouoft

 


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